Denny Hamlin Finishes 13th at ISM Raceway in PhoenixNovember 12, 2018
Denny Hamlin finished 13th in Sunday’s race at ISM Raceway in Phoenix after contact with Kurt Busch in a late-race battle for the late caused significant damage to the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota. Hamlin restarted third with 47 laps to go when he dove to the inside of Busch and leader Erik Jones in Turns 1 and 2. Unfortunately, the #11 machine got loose and washed up the track, pinching Busch into the outside wall. Busch caromed back into the racing line and spun Hamlin in front of the field, with a host of other cars collected in the incident.
“We were fighting for a race win,” said Hamlin, who won at the track in 2012. “I was doing all I could to clear Kurt, because we were on older tires and had a lot of competition breathing down our necks. Unfortunately, I got loose underneath him and we made contact. I hate it for our FedEx team and all the teams that were involved in the incident. But, we are still here to win races and I was trying to do just that.”
Hamlin showed speed throughout the 312-lap event won by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Hamlin started 10th and immediately began driving to the front. He picked off positions early and often, finishing third in Stage 1. Varying pit strategies in Stage 2 saw Hamlin finish 12th, as many others stayed out or took just two tires in a caution late in that segment.
In the final stage, Hamlin worked himself back into the top-10 when a caution came out with 50 laps to go. Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Jones all stayed out under the caution to gain track position.
The finish drops Hamlin one spot to 12th in the NASCAR standings following Phoenix. The series finale is Sunday, November 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.